Plant-Based Oral Insulin Regulates Blood Sugar Like Natural Insulin

Over the past 50 years or so, insulin production has been associated with risks to patients. Still, the drug has saved the lives of an estimated 537 million adults with diabetes worldwide, and more are expected.

Recent clinical studies have shown that insulin pen injections can cause insulin to reach the bloodstream too quickly, causing hypoglycemia, or blood sugar levels below healthy limits. Automatic insulin pumps can deliver accurate insulin and minimize this risk, but they are expensive and only available to a small percentage of diabetics worldwide.

Oral delivery of plant-based proinsulin may address these shortcomings, according to new research published in the journal Biomaterials, led by Henry Daniel of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry.

Clinical insulin has been in use for decades, but it lacks one of the three peptides found in natural insulin. The Daniel lab has created a plant-based insulin that contains all three peptides and can be taken orally. The strength of the plant cell wall protects insulin from acids and enzymes in the patient’s stomach before the material is broken down by intestinal microbes. The released insulin is then sent to the liver via the gut-hepatic axis.

Using diabetic mice, Daniel and his team found that plant-based insulin regulates blood glucose levels very similar to naturally secreted insulin within 15 minutes of ingestion. By comparison, mice treated with conventional insulin injections experienced a rapid drop in blood glucose levels, causing transient hypoglycemia.

“The risk of hypoglycemia is one of the biggest drawbacks of current delivery systems, and can even lead to coma. Orally administered insulin contains all three proteins and is delivered directly to the liver. It works like natural insulin, minimizing the risk of hypoglycemia,” says Danielle.

Daniel has spent many years researching the uses of plant-based proteins. In a study published in 2015, he led a team of researchers to demonstrate for the first time the commercial viability of producing a low-cost drug made from the lettuce plant. In that paper, researchers used freeze-dried lettuce leaves to manufacture an effective drug for hemophiliacs. Daniel is also working on plant-based medicines to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension, Alzheimer’s disease, polio, dental plaque, and plant-based gum that reduces the viral load of COVID-19 in saliva. created.

To produce plant-based insulin, scientists identified the human insulin gene and used what Daniel called a “gene gun” to blast the gene into the hard plant cell walls. The insulin gene is then integrated into the genome of the plant, in this case the lettuce genome. The resulting seeds permanently retained the insulin gene, and then grown lettuce was freeze-dried, ground, and prepared for oral delivery according to FDA regulatory guidelines.

This process is very different from producing insulin by the traditional method of growing the hormone inside bacteria or yeast cells, and is an expensive process that requires low temperatures for purification and transportation and storage. Daniel’s manufacturing method eliminates the need for expensive and complicated laboratory equipment and results in a product that can be stored at room temperature.

“I have seen news stories in some countries where vaccine doses are wasted because they do not have the resources to keep them refrigerated throughout the process. Post-production costs for seeds are eliminated using our method, as we have repeatedly proven that the products are storable.”

In the future, Daniel plans to test plant-based insulin in dogs and humans.

“Many dogs have diabetes and their owners have to stay home to administer insulin three times a day,” he says. “We have done dog studies in the past with hemophiliacs and heart disease dogs, and we know how to mix botanical powders into their food to add a bacon flavor. We are here.”

For humans, the supply of plant-based medicines could dramatically change the treatment of diabetes and other ailments.

“This delivery system changes the whole paradigm, not just insulin,” says Daniel. “I grew up in the developing world and watched people die because they could not afford medicines and vaccines. And in this case, we’re making insulin much better and at the same time more affordable: patients get better drugs at lower costs.”

Henry Daniel is Vice Chair and WD Miller Professor of the Department of Basic and Translational Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry.

Daniel’s co-author on this paper was postdoc Rahul Singh. Venkata Mangu, Senior Postdoctoral Fellow. Smruti Nair, PhD Candidate in Dentistry. Geetanjali Wakade, Postdoc. Natalia Balashova, Assistant Research Professor at The Pendental.

/ Open to the public. This material from the original organization/author may be of the nature of its time and has been edited for clarity, style and length. Mirage.News does not take any organizational positions or positions and all views, positions and conclusions expressed herein are those of the authors only. Read the full article here.

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